The Olympian: The Washington Center to host live 8-hour reading of the Mueller Report

The Washington Center for the Performing Arts will host an eight-hour live reading of all 448 pages of the Mueller Report Aug. 24.

Local political figures such as Olympia Mayor Cheryl Selby, U.S. Rep. Denny Heck, Olympia Mayor Pro Tem Nathaniel Jones, Thurston County Prosecutor Jon Tunheim, members of the state attorney general’s office, as well as local actors and theater leaders will lend their voices to read the expansive document over the show’s 8-hour run time.

“This is an important moment for American democracy and it’s great to have so many people work in a non-partisan manner to provide this information to the general public,” said event co-producer Ned Hayes.

Hayes is working with The Washington Center, the Northwest Playwrights Alliance, stage manager Kate Arvin, OLY ARTS and Browsers Bookshop to stage the reading.

Hayes said that although the event isn’t strictly a performance, those involved did work to choose readers who would make the report interesting for attendees.

“I think we have professional readers and people who are performers who will do their best to be artful and performative, so I think it should be entertaining and interesting but we aren’t changing a single word of the document… we won’t be adding any embellishment,” Hayes said.

Originally the project received more interest from potential readers than spaces available, so readers were chosen based on their speaking ability and with an eye to political diversity. The event has garnered the attention of some of Washington state’s most powerful political figures, with Gov. Jay Inslee, Attorney General Bob Ferguson, and U.S. Sen. Maria Cantwell throwing their support behind the reading.

Hayes expects a good turnout come Aug. 24. Although the full eight-hour performance may seem daunting, he encourages the public to stop by for any length of time. “People can come for as little as 30 minutes to an hour, or they can come for the whole time.”

The reading is one in a long line of public readings since the report was released on April 18. On May 31, theater companies New Neighborhood, Slightly Altered States and DMNDR hosted a 24-hour reading titled “Filibustered and Unfiltered: America Reads the Mueller Report” in Queens, New York, where actors volunteered to read the entirety of the report over the space of a day. Musicians played during the redacted sections of the report.

Also in New York, on June 24, a star-studded cast of voice actors presented a 10-act dramatized reading of the report titled “The Investigation: a Search for Truth in 10 Acts” at the Riverside Church in Manhatten. Justin Long portrayed FBI director James Comey, John Lithgow voiced President Donald Trump, Joel Gray voiced Jeff Sessions, and Jason Alexander voiced Chris Christie. Over one million people tuned in to the live stream of the event.

On July 23, more than 100 readers volunteered their time to participate in a 24-hour non-stop read-a-thon of the report at Town Hall in Seattle.

While previous readings have run the gamut of exact readings to more dramatized productions, Hayes considers the Olympia effort more of a newscast than a true theater production.

“This is not a partisan, or even political activity,” he said. “This is just informing the public, as much as a good newscast or a journalistic endeavor would do. I believe it’s important for everyone, regardless of political affiliation, to know what’s happening in our democracy.”

This event will be from 1-9 p.m. Aug. 24 at the Washington Center for the Performing Arts, 512 Washington St. SE. The event is free and open to the public.